How to Claim Your Free Google Places Plus Page

PMG Digital Marketing Blog

 

Marketing on Google

Have You Claimed Your Free Local Google Places (+) Listing? According to Google themselves only 17% of local businesses have claimed   their free listing on Google Places or most recently named Google+ Local. Since Google is the number one search engine most people use, the first page of Google’s search results. If you are on page 2 or more you are losing exposure and more importantly  business to those on page 1.

You may say “I have a great website, why do I need Google Places?” Having a well optimized Google Places page will help your business “get found” easily and do so much more  than with a website alone.  In Google + LocalGoogle’s eyes a website acts as a bridge between Google Places and the rest of the online World.  So go ahead,  Claim and Maximize  your Google Places Page! This is prime and very cost effective online marketing real estate! First, you need to have a Google Account in order to claim your Place page. You will also be able to use this account.

Go to http://www.google.com/places/ and select “Get Started Now” on the lower right hand side.  It will then ask you for your username and password. If you do not already have a Google Account you can sign up for one in the top right hand corner of this page.

Next,  it will ask for your phone number so that it can try and pull up your information.  Once your business information is retrieved you can then edit your page by adding basic details like business name, address and phone number.  Make sure your address is correct and to use a local phone number; don’t use toll-free or cell phone numbers.

Note: If you have been in business for a while Google is pretty good of at least getting some information on your business but if you have only been open for a year or two there is a good chance they have nothing.

Business Description: The business description is an important ranking factor. You are limited to just 200 characters so use them wisely. It should be accurate and readable with 2-3 main keywords included but be careful you don’t use the same keywords as in your categories shown in the next step.

Categories: When selecting your Categories you are only allowed to choose 5. The first category must be one of Google’s. The other 4 can be customized for your business.  Just remember categories are “What You Are” not “What You Do”.  For example,  “Italian Restaurant” or “Caterer” is a good type of  category,  “Pizza Delivery” is not.  Once again,  do not use the same keywords in your categories as in your business description.

Photos: Google and people love photos. They allow you to add up to 10  pictures. You know the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” it really is and be sure to  keep that in mind when deciding to post to your page.  Of course, your logo will be the first one.  For a restaurant,  If it is appealing you could show the outside or inside of the restaurant,  Photos of your food and just as importantly pictures of people enjoying your food!  Be sure to get the permission of any customers in writing before posting any photos or videos of them online.

Videos: If a photo is worth a 1000 words one can only guess how much a good video is worth.  You can upload up to 5 videos on your

Google Places Page. If you already have some videos, great, upload it to YouTube first and enter the URL. You can do a video with your own camera or there are free online tools and trials at sites like Animoto and Camtasia were you can just use photos and add music.  Either way Google loves videos for their search engine.  After all, they do own You Tube.

As you are entering your information, you can preview your listing as it will appear in Google Places on the right side of your screen. When you have entered all of your information and content and you’re satisfied with your listing, click Submit at the bottom of the page.

Choose how you would like to verify your listing and click Finish. Depending on your situation, all options for verification may not be available. For example,  if you are adding a new listing (not claiming) Google will have you verify by postcard.

When you receive your PIN from Google, go to your Dashboard and enter the pin number. That’s it…your done!

While there are several tools, resources and strategies to rank higher in Google and get more visibility for your business, claiming your page automatically puts you more than 80% ahead of everyone else including your competition.

More On Places and Google+…

Very recently Google announced a new way to help people discover and share all sorts of information about local businesses Google+.   It comes in the form of new Google Local+ pages. These are new business profile listings which will replace your Google Place page and integrate with Google’s new social network, Google+. Users will now be able to access these pages through Search, Maps, Mobile and  a Local tab within Google+ itself.

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